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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Taking the Scenic Route to Writing Success

Photo by Laura Bear
Bought a new bicycle last week! A touring bike. Yep, not too easy to find any more, but they had one in my size at Babcock's Bicycles. Got an old- school leather saddle for it and everything. Isn't it pretty? (See below). I've been having fun breaking it in. No, I didn't have it when we rode around Schoodic Point in Maine (see right), but I would love to take it up there next time we go.

I like the touring bike because it forces me to ride differently. It's not really built for speed, although it rolls very nicely. It's built for comfort--and for hauling gear. Just right for an all day ride in the Finger Lakes or on the packed gravel of the Pine Creek Gorge trail or some such thing. I can carry my lunch. Real lunch, not Cliff bars. I can carry the SLR camera (or my spouse can). I can carry camping gear or just some clothes to change into so we can stay overnight somewhere. I can enjoy the scenery. I can ride all day. I can go places I would never go on my fast, light road bike with skinny tires. It's all about the journey on a touring bike.

Speaking of journeys, as you may or may not know, I have been on a writing journey. Ever since I was old enough to write a sentence, I have been writing for--well, if not fun--then for the overwhelming desire to do so. I wrote "books" on the connected computer paper my father brought home from work when I was in grade school. The paper was enormous, but made great books because the pages were already "bound" by little perforated lines holding all the pages together. One side was all white with no lines (great for adding illustrations), the other was lined in light green and white and you could open the whole thing up, accordion-style, to make one long banner. I think I was in third or fourth grade when I wrote my first "novel" on regular notebook paper (I must not have had access to a typewriter). Maybe I was a little older, but I remember handing it to my best friend Emily to read. I even made a cover for it, hand-drawn with embellished curly-cues around the title: Death Around the Corner. It was a murder-mystery. I was pretty dramatic then and liked to read scary stories and Nancy Drew. It was terrible, but Emily said she liked it (best friend, remember?).

I wrote poems to get me through high school and early college. I even started a degree in English and Journalism, but got sidetracked by fear and other things. Writing was scary. What if I wasn't good enough? What if I couldn't make a living? Maybe I should get a "real" job. So, I went to nursing school, got married, had a baby, worked as a nurse for many years, got divorced, went back to school to get a graduate degree in speech language pathology/communication disorders. That's what I do now. I wrote a few articles, even had one published. I piled words into journals, but I didn't have the courage to really work at it, until...well, let's just say there were too many serendipitous events happening that shouted, scolded, and swore at me--you are a writer. Like it or not, published or not, that's what I am. I can call myself a writer now without fear. And I have a book coming out next year. My first published novel. (Please allow me to introduce my publisher again: www.unsolicitedpress.com).

I can't wait for the editing to begin next month. I am working on my next book. It's been a long journey, but I'm ready for it now. I have my touring bike.